At the age of 86, William F. Nolan is still writing. Nolan is the author (with George Clayton Johnson) of the novel, Logan’s Run, which was the basis for the MGM film. (The book is much better than the movie), a TV series and several sequels. But what you might not know is that Nolan has also written mystery novels (check out the Black Mask series, my favorite is The Marble Orchard), horror novels (Helltracks), and a ton of non- fiction. He wrote the first ever biography of Dashiell Hammett and the first biography of Steve McQueen, whom he knew personally. I haven’t mentioned Nolan’s many short stories, over 200 of them, and the numerous collections they appear in, or his TV and film scripts.

All of which bring me to what might be the most surprising of all his works, but one of my favorites, The Sam Space series. I think that Sam is one of the funniest characters ever written about in or out of any genre. He’s a trench coat wearing, wise cracking private investigator who lives on Mars in the future and solves wacky crimes. The novels and stories are written in first person (like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe) and are a surreal mix of mystery and science fiction, told in a laugh out loud way.

Sam’s clients might be beautiful three-headed alien women, and the villains could be monsters, clones or robots from other dimensions. In a Sam Space story anything can happen. The action is non-stop as are the laughs. Oh, did I mention that Sam’s hat, a fedora, talks to him? Or that his flying car also has negative opinions about his drinking?

If you want to read something totally escapist that’s just plain fun, get ahold of Nolan’s collection, Seven For Space, or look for one of the other collections. Sam’s novels are, Space For Hire, and, Look Out For Space.

Who knew that someone who could write such exciting, thrill packed novels and stories could also make you laugh? Nolan does it!